skinny's blog

Art and tech events this week!

We are extremely lucky this week to have THREE art/tech events happening here in Portland featuring artwork from some of our favorite creative coders. Have fun and support your art/tech community by coming out for these events! The first two are part of First Thursday and you can easily walk between them.

Dungeon Hacker at DIODE Gallery Thursday Feb 5 6PM-9PM 514 NW Couch Featuring Dan Cohen, Ryan Johnson, Andy Lunday, and Gabe Shaughnessy

Electric Fields by Jeremy Rotsztain at UPFOR Gallery Thursday Feb 5 6PM-8PM - 929 NW Flanders

ByteMe 4.0 at AFRU Gallery Friday Feb 6 6PM-11PM - 534 SE Oak St. Featuring Church of Robotron, Libby White, John Brown, Ben Purdy, and more!

A few of us worked on the Church of Robotron install for ByteMe, so here's a far too large flier for it!

This is how we disappear - projection notes

I’ve been meaning to document my work on this project for about year now. TBA 2014 reminded me it is time to actually do it! So here it is:

For the past year and a half I’ve been working with a dance company called bobbevy. I’ve been creating graphics that go along with the dance performance called “This is how we disappear”. Here’s a review at Portland Monthly.


This is how we disappear - projection edit from Brian Richardson on Vimeo.


More behind the scenes information after the break!


The Church of Robotron is coming to Portland, OR. We will be open the Last Wednesday of September (the 24th) and the First Thursday of October (the 2nd) starting at 7pm both nights at the Diode Gallery (514 NW Couch St) which is across the street from Ground Kontrol. We'll have multiple versions of Robotron 2084 available to train with and we will be triggering physical events in response to game events. One example: lasers when lasers are shot in game. For info about how this is accomplished, check out this older post.

Right now, we have an installation in the window at the gallery which is running 24/7 until October 3rd. It features a fully playable version of Robtron 2084, sermons, and a leaderboard that has pictures of all who attempt to become the mutant savior. Here's a video of it:

The window sensor is a capacitive sensor that was made by Philip Odom. He used the same techniques he taught during the Capacitive Sensing Workshop. Jason Plumb got audio working by using a transducer that turns the window into a speaker. The sign was built by Debbie Wager. Finally, this was all integrated together by the rest of the church.

Come check out the window anytime! Come to our open nights (9/24 & 10/2), check out this post for an idea of what to expect!

Processing Fundamentals

DorkbotPDX invites you to "Processing Fundamentals".

A free workshop at Flux

DorkbotPDX is happy to offer a 4-hour intro to Processing -- a graphics programming environment. Students will learn the basics of Processing.
No prior programming experience required!


  • When: Sunday, April 27. 2-6pm
  • Where: Flux Hackerspace (412 NW Couch #222, Portland, OR)
  • Cost: FREE!!!
  • Bring: A laptop with Processing 2.0 installed (if you can)
  • RSVP:

Source code: Processing_Fundamentals

Built with Processing and Processing.js

Next meeting Venue Change: Bunk Bar SE.

Just a quick note:  Next Monday we meet at Bunk Bar on the inner east side, at 7:00pm.  You can find a map to Bunk Bar here.  Harry Dean Stanton will be waiting for you.

 A repo man spends his life getting into tense situations.

DorkbotPDX 0x0A Presentation Videos

Thanks to everyone that presented (especially the new folks during OpenDork) and to thanks to everyone that came out! 

Glenn Phillips, Self Balancing Robots (

Church of Robotron (


DorkbotPDX Open Mic Surgery Event Videos

Video from the Open Mic Surgery Event.

These videos never made it to the site, I'm fixing that now!  Thanks to everyone that came out!  (Mouse over blank area below to trigger video loads.)

Use MAME's debugger to reverse engineer and extend old games

Use MAME's debugger to reverse engineer and extend old games

For the Church of Robotron's installation at Toorcamp 2012, we needed to be able to trigger physical events when game events happened in Robotron 2084. A quick summary for context:

  • We had an Altar that contained a Linux box that ran MAME and Robotron 2084
  • We had joysticks that acted as HID devices
  • Player would kneal down and play the game. As events happened in the game (player death, human death, lasers firing), we would trigger physical events.

We choose to use MAME's debugger to detect game events and notify other pieces of software when they happened. This is a quick tutorial for others (and a reminder to ourselves) if you're interested in doing similar things. We're going to find out how to detect player death!

Kinect Cat Sequencer

I went to the DorkbotPDX Open Lab today (Feb 26th, 2012) at ADX and sat down to play with the Kinect I got a while ago. The result is a "Cat Sequencer" that uses the Kinect to trigger samples. There are two looping samples and one non looping sample. The trigger areas for the samples have been placed around the plates. They are visible on the computer as cubes. The more solid the cubes the more filled the trigger area is. Once the trigger is filled enough, it plays a sample. Read on for more details and code.

Kinect Cat Sequencer from Brian Richardson on Vimeo.

Processing Workshop at PNCA November 28th, 1pm, Free!


Processing is an open source programming language and environment for people who want to create images, animations, and interactions. During this workshop we will explore this environment and make some fun graphics! This workshop is aimed at people with little to no programming experience who want a playground to explore programming and graphics and for experienced programmers that just want an overview of what processing offers.

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